Vernacular Lettering

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Back in 2005 I was living in the southeast of Spain, in the city of Valencia. I was studying an MA on Graphic Design where I met people as interested as me in typography. In no time my three colleagues –Rubén Arnal, Ainhoa Fernández and Ricardo Peña– and I were deciding to publish a new magazine focusing on typography. We called it Iconographic magazine. Each issue was devoted to one topic (first “Looking into the past” in 2007, second “Urban typography” in 2008, third “Lettering” in 2010, and finally an homage to the late Spanish designer Paco Bascuñán, also in 2010). So far four issues have been published, although I was involved only in the first three.

For the second issue, the one devoted to Urban Typography, we decided to publish an article displaying pictures of lettering and typography used in urban environments. So we made a public invitation via flickr and other online social media. Considering the magazine was an independent initiative of four students, and that it had limited scope, the response was overwhelming. We received pictures from all over the world and in no time we were managing more than a thousand pictures (now a thousand may not sound like that much, but in that moment it was a lot).

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We published several pictures on two double pages of the magazine, and then we decided to use more of them in an exhibition that I was coordinating at a gallery in Madrid, “Ver y Mirar” (something like “Seeing and Looking”). We thought a video projected on a wall would be the perfect medium to deal with so many pictures. The screen was divided in four parts, and the music, created by the musician Jeremias Pau Toledo, provided the perfect rhythm for the slideshow. It was not easy to follow all the pictures, but that proved to be a nice metaphor of the abundance I terms of lettering and signs that we are confronted with every day on the streets of our cities.

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For different reasons we could not upload the video back then to any digital platform, until last week, when in a moment of nostalgia I decided to share it and uploaded it to my own host.

I have created a website and now share the video from there. Apologies to Firefox users, I am not a CSS ninja designer so you might not be able to watch it in that browser.

Ver y mirar. El detalle de las letras. Link to website

I hope you’ll enjoy it!